Last month my I spent a long weekend in Paris for my birthday.
I haven’t laughed so much in ages. We had glasses of red wine every night, french bread, some amazing meals, and some gorgeous strolls through the capital.
Yet, on Saturday we saw black smoke rising in the distance from the shops and cars on fire in the Champs Elysees as Paris saw it’s 18th weekend of protests. We walked in the opposite direction to the smoke and tear gas bangs, as you would.
How to spend a weekend in Paris:
We flew to Paris in the end as tickets weren’t too expensive – around 60 euros, but after adding luggage etc, it did all add up.
Easyjet only do one carry on bag now, but their dimensions and images are misleading on the website. You can easily take a carry on suitcase and just pop your handbag in your bag for check in, to then get it out again on the flight.
The euro star was around £230 so not considerably more than what we paid for flights, but the flight is quick and I slept the whole way.
We basically walked everywhere on the first day, a nice 23,000 step stroll around Paris.
The best way to see the city in a weekend is by walking everywhere. It’s exhausting but beautiful.
The Metro is quick, easy and only 1,90 euro for a ticket to wherever you’re going. From Charles-de-guille airport it was about an hour to our hotel or central Paris, but pretty straightforward apart from the fact we arrived at rush hour.
Where we stayed
We stayed about a twenty minute walk from the Eiffel tour at the Nouvel Hotel. It was a great location for the metro and for great restaurants.
If you were staying for longer than a weekend in Paris then you’d probably find it low on storage space, but it was the ideal hotel for a few days. It was clean, cosy, contemporary. The ceiling also had a pink sky on it, which was a quirky little twist that I appreciated.
Where we went
We went everywhere. Sadly the eiffel tower was closed due to the wind, so we only got to the second viewing platform, and even that was SO damn windy.
If you want to go up definitely book in advance, I booked the week we went as there was only a 9:30am slot left, oops, safe to say we had a strong ass coffee in the queue that morning.
After that we walked towards the Champs Elysees through some backstreets, to the Arc Du Triumphe. Then walked to the top of the Arc – there’s a theme here eh?
Also as we’re 25 and under this was free, you just whack out your passport, and away you go. It’s the same for galleries and museums, Louvre included.
The views were great, even if we were assaulted with the wind again. After that we strolled down the Champs Elysees very leisurely, it was slightly unbelievable that there was protests and shops burnt down there the next day. It’s a good old walk, then you reach Place de la Concorde, and we decided to leave the remainder of the the stretch from there – to the Louvre then further along Notre Dame – to the following day.
Sunday was a day full of culture and a great pain au chocolat, that I mostly got all round my face, classy. We started off at the Louvre, after a nice long walk round the Jardin des Tuileries as the police had shut down all of Place de la Concorde down to the Arc in anticipation of the protestors.
The Louvre was free, and it’s a stunning museum. The art is great, but the architecture is just as interesting. We explored for a couple of hours, saw Mona, saw some more Da Vinci and grabbed a bite to eat.
Then in the glorious sunshine (feat assaulting wind) we strolled back through the gardens across to Musee D’Orsay, as the L’Orangerie had closed early.
We managed to pop in L’Orangerie the following day before our flight to see Monet’s WaterLilies and several other of his pieces. Musee D’Orsay is an old train station converted into a museum – again the building is spectacular. D’Orsay also has a mass of fantastic artists including a whole room of Van Gogh.
After our cultural afternoon, we got the metro away to Notre Dame as the sun was setting, need I say more?
As we walked around the inside of Notre Dame a service began and we listened for a while, lit candle for my Dad and went in search of food. Basically our whole weekend consisted of – walk, ooh look at that, shall we eat? Repeat.
Where we ate
During the day we basically ate around wherever we were or on route to wherever we were going and it worked out really well.
On our first evening, my birthday, we had dinner at the end of our street at Au Roi du Cafe. The food and service was amazing. Actually, we ate around where we stayed two of the three nights and the food was sensational.
The second night we had insane burgers (with more wine) at La Tour de Nesle, again near our metro station Sevrelles. We’d also had lunch at a dreamy bakery that day, at Josephine’s just off the champs elysees.I would walk back to France for that bread. Dang.
We also grabbed some macaroons at Laduree – because it’s obligatory right? The coffee or salted caramel was probs the best. Great, now I’m hungry.
Sunday we struggled to find food (OH NO), very few cafes were open even though it was 11am. Luckily we found a bakery near the Pasteur metro stop La Boulangerie du 37 – which for two euros you got a pain au chocolat and an espresso. Side note, coffee was great and pretty cheap throughout the weekend in Paris.
Another note, I probably wouldn’t take cash again to Paris as the exchange rate both ways is awful. I had euros left over after the trip and for 60 euros, I could get £40! So I’ve finally got a Monzo card both to have a stricter budget month by month and for travel abroad.
Then Sunday evening we had the best dinner near Notre Dame. We had red wine, cheese, great bread, and steak. It was beautiful.
Have you spent a weekend in Paris?